Listen to Me (film)

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Listen to Me
Listen to me poster.jpg
Theatrical Release Poster
Directed by Douglas Day Stewart
Produced by Marykay Powell
Jerry A. Baerwitz
Dolly Gordon
Written by Douglas Day Stewart
Jack Cummins
Daniel Arthur Wray
Music by David Foster
Cinematography Fred J. Koenekamp
Edited by Anne V. Coates
Bud S. Smith
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date
May 5, 1989
Running time
107 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $4,299,023[1]

Listen to Me is a 1989 American drama film written and directed by Douglas Day Stewart. Released on May 5, 1989, it stars Kirk Cameron, Jami Gertz, and Roy Scheider. The film was largely shot on location in Malibu, California, including the campus of Pepperdine University.

Plot summary[edit]

Listen to Me centers around a group of college students who are members of the debate team at fictional Kenmont College. The two main characters, Tucker Muldowney (Cameron) and Monica Tomanski (Gertz), come from underprivileged backgrounds, having won scholarships to Kenmont for displaying exceptional talent for debating. Both students are taken under the wing of the debate team coach, Charlie Nichols (Scheider), who was a star debater in his youth.

The team eventually wins a chance to debate the issue of abortion in front of the Supreme Court. Along the way, the students learn lessons about life, love, friendship, and politics.




  • Jamie Kantrowitz as Monica's Little Sister
  • Barbara Pilavin as Monica's Aunt
  • Francine Selkirk as Monica's Aunt
  • Sean Stewart as Reform School Boy At Fence
  • Stephanie Copeland as Kenmore Cheerleader
  • Jodi Engleman as Kenmore Cheerleader (Credited as Jodi Engelmann)
  • Francine L. Julius as Kenmore Cheerleader
  • Alison Morgan as Kenmore Cheerleader
  • Traci L. Murray as Kenmore Cheerleader
  • Tammi Urner as Kenmore Cheerleader
  • Nancy Valen as Mia
  • Dorrie Krum as Tasha
  • Dylan Stewart as Chess Player
  • Julie Dretzin as Sloan
  • Lynn Fischer as Bobby Chin's Girlfriend
  • Mark Christopher Lawrence as Attila
  • Robert A. Chumbrook Jr. as Horny (Credited as Robert A. Chumbook)
  • Lilyan Chauvin as French Professor
  • Julie Robb as Fountain Girl (Credited as Julie Simone)
  • Annette Sinclair as Fountain Girl
  • Dianne Travis as Garson's Mother (Credited as Dianne Turley Travis)
  • Anna Lee as Garson's Grandmother
  • Kenneth Patterson as Garson's Grandfather (Credited as Kenneth G. Patterson)
  • Thomas Heinkel Miller as Columbia Debate Official
  • Priscilla Kovary Charlie's Dancing Partner
  • Richard Lundin as Hansom Cab Driver (Credited as Rick A. Lundin)
  • Jon Lindstrom as Television Reporter
  • David Downing as Officer of the Court
  • Don Galloway as Harvard Coach
  • Ed Wright as Justice Patterson
  • R. Norwood Smith as Justice Goodman (Credited as Norwood Smith)
  • Dave Gilbert as Justice Tarlton
  • Mary Gregory as Justice Brooderworth


  • Frank Ferruccio as Alex Corey
  • Donald Hall as Man in Restaurant
  • Lara Holmes as College Student
  • Angel Jager as Student
  • Michael Joiner as College student
  • Chillie Mo as Shaun
  • Tricia Sheldon as Debator
  • Tracii Show as College Student
  • Reynaldo Silva as College Student


The film was originally called Mismatch and was meant to star James Garner but he had heart surgery and was replaced by Roy Schneider. Filming started in May 1988.[2]

"It's kind of the flipside of Less Than Zero," said associate producer Chuck Cooperman. "These people are our future leaders. They're just as bright, concerned and just as passionate as anyone."[3]

It was financed by the Weintraub Entertainment Group from Jerry Weintraub.[4]

Kirk Cameron said it "was easy for me to relate to" his character. "To begin with, it's a dramatic part. It's not a film about teenagers with half a brain running around drinking, dancing and partying. The characters are intelligent and responsible. They are genuinely concerned about the world we live in. It's much closer to reality than other teen pictures. It's time to show the other side of my generation, the deeper side."[5]


The film's marketing was going to focus on Kirk Cameron, then at the height of his popularity. However Jerry Weintraub over-rode them and insisted on ads that emphasised the fact the film dealt with a debate about abortion, hoping to stir up controversy. The movie was a flop at the box office. "Fans were neither angered or disturbed, they simply stayed away," wrote the Wall Street Journal.[4]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Award Category Nominee Year Result ref
Young Artist Awards Best Young Actor Starring in a Motion Picture Kirk Cameron 1990 Nominated
Political Film Society Human Rights Listen to Me 1990 Nominated
Golden Raspberry Awards Worst Supporting Actor Christopher Atkins 1990 Won


  1. ^ "Listen to Me". Retrieved July 7, 2015. 
  2. ^ Kachmar, Diane C. (2002). Roy Scheider: A Film Biography. McFarland. p. 131. 
  3. ^ "OUTTAKES: Up-Rooted". Los Angeles Times. 17 Apr 1988. p. K21. 
  4. ^ a b Turner, Richard (14 June 1989). "A Hot Movie Studio Gobbles Up the Cash But Produces No Hits: Jerry Weintraub Made Name As Agent and Promoter, Luring Diverse Investors Snickers Over 6 Straight Flops". Wall Street Journal. p. A1. 
  5. ^ "Kirk Cameron's surprised by heartthrob role". Ellensburg Daily Record. 5 May 1989. p. 10. 

External links[edit]